County commissioner calls for south suburban trauma center after complaints of poor service at Harvey hospital

A Cook County commissioner is calling for a trauma center to be built in the south suburbs after complaints of poor service at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey.

Commissioner Monica Gordon said long wait times and short staffing at the hospital are a result of the "interconnected disparities" in the mostly Black and brown south suburbs "that has to be addressed."

She wants a trauma center to be built in the south suburbs so patients don’t have to travel miles to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn or the University of Chicago Medical Center for treatment.

On Sunday, Gordon met outside the hospital with a few other people who say their family members have had troubling experiences at Ingalls.

Early Walker, director of the violence prevention group I’m Telling, Don’t Shoot, said his mother had fallen in a school parking lot in Harvey on Friday and had a difficult health care experience at Ingalls.

After waiting more than 30 minutes for an ambulance due to a dispatching issue, Walker’s mother waited for over an hour to be admitted into the emergency department, despite a bleeding head wound.


UChicago Medicine, which bought Ingalls in 2016, did not address Walker’s complaints, citing patient privacy, in a statement to the Sun-Times for this story. Hospital officials said trauma programs are an expensive and demanding public service that must be planned and coordinated by state and local governments.

Walker posted his grievance on social media and said he received scores of messages from people who also reported bad experiences at Ingalls.

One of them was Shavon Ingram, whose father is in his 70s and collapsed in his yard last week. Even though a tree branch punctured the side of his head, he was left waiting for hours to be let into the emergency department, Ingram said.

Ingalls was the first community hospital to be purchased by UChicago Medicine.

UChicago increased its investment in Ingalls Memorial in 2022 to $99.5 million, the hospital system said in its yearly report. The hospital system increased its investments by 13% over the prior year in its South Side and south suburban hospitals, according to the report.